The fabled Parris Island Marine boot camp has been temporarily closed to new recruits after 20 people tested positive for the CCP virus at the base.
The base in South Carolina, which was depicted in the 1987 film “Full Metal Jacket,” is one of just two marine training camps in the country. It will now be closed to new recruits for two weeks, according to a statement from the Marine Corps.
Training will continue for recruits already at Parris Island, the Marine Corps said in the statement on March 30, but with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing.
“The preservation of our Marines, recruits, and their families is the highest priority for Marine Corps Recruiting during this national emergency,” said Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps. “With that in mind, we’ve paused this week’s shipping of new recruits to Parris Island and will revise our overall shipping plan to ensure we are able to meet the nation’s needs while protecting its next generation of Marines.”
The first death of a military service member was announced on March 30—a member of the National Guard in New Jersey, who wasn’t on active duty status when he was hospitalized on March 21.
The reservist National Guard has been called in to help with the fight against the CCP virus. As of March 30, more than 14,830 had been called up across all 50 states, according (pdf) to the Guard.
“This response isn’t just about delivering food or supporting COVID-19 test centers,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “It’s about protecting our children, parents, and grandparents. Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help, and we can’t let them down.”
So far, the National Guard in each state has remained under the control of the local governor.
The president announced on March 22 that federal funding was being made available to the National Guard in Washington, California, and New York—under Title 32 status—leaving the governors free to activate units without worrying about the cost.
Officials emphasized that the announcement doesn’t mean the National Guard had been “federalized,” and it isn’t under the command of the president.
“That Title 32 status is no different than when the National Guard responds to natural disasters,” Lengyel wrote on Twitter.
“Governors and adjutants general, who know best what is needed on the ground, will continue to command Guardsmen and women and use them where they are needed most.”
Two 1,000 Navy hospital ships are now moored in Los Angeles and New York, where they will treat non-COVID-19 patients to ease the burden on the local hospitals as the cities brace for the struggle with the CCP virus.
With the Department of Defense having just 2 percent of the nation’s hospitals—the majority of which aren’t set up for infectious diseases—the military has said they can provide only limited direct medical support.
The Army’s Corps of Engineers has been enlisted to help build field hospitals at the request of FEMA, which has so far given mission assignments totaling about $1.1 billion, involving 15,000 personnel.
In Midtown Manhattan, the Corps has set up a 3,000-bed field hospital at the Javits Convention Center as a temporary medical facility, to ease the bed shortage.
Officials say the Javits Center could help provide the blueprint for similar facilities as the CCP virus potentially sweeps into other states. So far, according to KKTV, 181 such sites have been identified.